Tag Archives: Lucy Loh

The mindset for Open Innovation – at “Open Innovation in Action” SBC OI summit


By Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh

We had the opportunity to lead a break-out session at the recent Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) Open Innovation summit.  It was a day filled with interesting presentations, panel discussions, networking and break-out sessions.

Open Innovation is all about people

Our session was one of the last in the day, so that delegates had had several opportunities to hear and reflect about the question of mindsets and the importance of soft people skills by the time they came to our break-out.

Stefan Lindegaard (@lindegaard) drew our attention to this in a big way in his presentation, when he stressed some of the key characteristics for success as being a networker, communicator, intrapreneur, and an influencer.  Also on his list was the ability to adapt, to tolerate uncertainty and to be an optimist.

The intrapreneur was particularly important in making things happen within the company by paying attention to people and creating the right conditions for innovation.

The pre-lunch panel session exploring the highs and lows of Open Innovation also homed in on the key characteristics for OI.

(By the way, some of the words have lost their associations in the word cloud – such as ‘not control freaks’ and being willing to ask difficult questions’ and ‘admit ignorance, whilst the reference to the bar – is about the place for carrying out negotiations!)

The mindset for open innovation is also about personality types

One of the participants in our break-out pointed out that it was also a question of people’s character when we asked them what the right mindset might be.  That was a great segway for our presentation, which explored two models.

In our first model Elisabeth reflected on how some of the personality type preferences described in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator are particularly relevant to different stages of (Open) Innovation, but that an organisation needed a blend of all personality types to be successful.

We need to find some unique individuals for successful Open Innovation

In our second model Lucy shared the results of her research into mindsets for innovation, and concluded that to be successful, organisations needed to seek out some unique characteristics.

The break-out closed with some final thoughts from the participants, who thought passion to keep going through the ups and downs, and the ability to listen to and understand others’ language and frames of reference were key to successful collaboration in Open Innovation.

Our full presentation is available on Open Innovation in Action – SBC OI summit website.

Notes

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting (http://www.riverrhee.com), a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lucy Loh is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Lucy Loh Consulting (http://uk.linkedin.com/in/lucyloh), a consultancy that helps businesses and organisations develop their business plans, and manage change in their organisations and teams to be able to deliver those plans.  She is also a RiverRhee Consulting Associate.  Lucy has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting.  Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a certified Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.  She is also an accredited trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management for Strategic Leadership.

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What can Lean and Six Sigma and Dilts’ Logical Levels of Change bring to effective change management?


By Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh

This is the fifth and last blog in our series on “Enhancing Team Effectiveness in a time of change” based on our recent publication in Business Information Review(1), and other publications and seminars in progress.  We explore two last tools: Lean and Six Sigma in Change Management and Dilts’ Logical Levels of Change.  We also suggest some next steps for you to practice what you will have learnt, and ask whether you would be interested in some follow-up support, and if so, what form that might take.

In case you missed them, this is what we covered in our previous blogs

In our first blog (Enhancing team effectiveness in a time of change – an introduction), we described the challenges being faced by organisations, teams and individuals and the impact that these changes have on them.

Our second blog (Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them) explored how people (either as individuals or teams) respond to change and how to help them through their journeys in a positive way.

Our third blog (Tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change) introduced five more specific tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change.

Our fourth blog (Team development, pre-requisites for success and temperature checks: tools for effective change management) explored three of the tools: team development, pre-requisites for success and team temperature checks in more detail.

Lean / Six Sigma

The Lean and Six Sigma process improvement philosophies and tools can be extremely useful to a team undergoing change.  We have worked with organisations to help them develop strategies and implement change in an approach analogous to that described by Steven Spear(2):

  1. Identify the value to be delivered, and your team’s goals, in the context of your customers’ and other stakeholders’ expectations
  2. Adopt an end-to-end (cross-organisation) process orientation i.e. going beyond traditional silos to explore how to deliver customer value most effectively and efficiently
  3. Commit to identifying, solving and learning from problems
  4. Build capability within the team to perpetuate a culture of continuous improvement

Even short workshops around any one of these steps with a team undergoing change can already help them to be better equipped to deal with it.  We have worked with an academic library team preparing to centralise processes for books and periodicals that were previously decentralized across several college libraries.  An engagement with a pharmaceutical contract research organisation (CRO) has enabled it to engage people across the whole of its organisation, deliver real savings in cost and time, and embed this approach as a sustainable way of working.  You can read more about these case studies on our web site (RiverRhee Consulting case studies).

Dilts – Logical Levels of Change

This tool is one that can be used both as a diagnostic, and as a planning tool in a time of change.

Robert Dilts is a leading figure in the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) who recognised that it is important for team leaders to act at multiple levels to achieve change.  He developed the Logical Levels of change model, as a helpful way of understanding the elements of effective team performance(3).

Logical levels of change

Environment

The ‘Environment’ is outside the team: the place and time where and when the team works, the team’s customers or stakeholders, the physical layout of the work area.

Behaviour and capabilities

‘Behaviour’ consists of specific actions: what each team member does, says and thinks.  This will be the outward display of having successfully introduced new working practices and so it will also be useful to define the key expected behaviours for implementing a particular change.

‘Capabilities’  (or ‘competencies’) are skills, qualities and strategies, such as flexibility and adaptability.  They are consistent, automatic and habitual, are how work gets done in the team and will often need to be defined, taught and practiced in order to support change.

Performance management is an established process for managing goals for Behaviours and Capabilities in most organisations.

Values and beliefs

‘Values’ are what an individual or team holds to be important.  They act as the ‘why’: the emotional drivers for what a team member or the overall team does.  ‘Beliefs’ are what an individual or team holds to be true, and so influences how the person or team acts.

Values are critical: for most of us, they are key, unconscious influences on how we act.  The values demonstrated by the team leader are particularly important.  For example, a team leader who values harmony could act to reduce tension in the team.  In some circumstances, it could be more important that the team leader values achievement, and temporarily ‘parks’ an issue of tension in order to meet an important deadline.

Within the team, it is vital that the team leader manages a sensitive debate on the values which will be important for future team success, meeting the needs of its customers and stakeholders – not necessarily the values which the individual team members hold most strongly.

At a time of change, it is helpful for the team leader to ask all the members of the team to state their Beliefs about working in the team – and to facilitate a healthy debate about these.

Identity and purpose

‘Identity’ is how a team thinks about itself, the core beliefs and values that define it, and provide a sense of ‘who the team is’.  Healthcare professionals could have an identity as nurses, for example.

‘Purpose’ refers to the larger organisation of which the team is part.  It connects to a wider purpose – ‘for whom?’ or ‘what else?’  For healthcare professionals, their purpose could be to alleviate suffering or to provide care.

Using the Dilts model

The model helps the team to understand its status, and to make choices about what to do.  It has a natural hierarchy, and indicates where change is required in the team, to assist its effectiveness in the wider organisation.  Where the nature of the wider organisation has changed, and the role of the team has changed within it, then the team would work through all of the levels, from identity downwards, to consider what has changed and to redefine itself.

When introducing change in an organisation: our first thought might be to put up posters, or run training courses.  To achieve change, it’s tempting to focus activities on the lower levels of Dilts’ pyramid, because they are more ‘visible’, and easier to act on.  Organisation change, for example, (changing the organisation chart, reporting lines, which skills are located in which team), affecting the bottom three levels of the pyramid.  But change at these lower levels will not necessarily affect the higher levels, and we can both identify examples where large amounts of energy went into these activities at the lower levels but little into the identify and values of the new organisation, with poor results.

We can create more lasting and sustainable change, by working on purpose, identity, values and beliefs.  These higher levels in the pyramid are generally more ‘invisible’, harder to change and harder to assess because they address the thoughts and emotions of individuals. For lasting and sustainable change, we therefore need to consider the new purpose of the team, what the new identity would look, feel, and sound like, and what the values and beliefs would be to sustain that new purpose and identity.

It is worth significant effort to engage the organisation and its teams in this as much as is practically possible.  This is the way to change those thoughts and emotions, which will then motivate changes in capabilities and behaviours.   Training courses and posters could be developed which re-emphasised the changes in identity and values, while also developing the capabilities and behaviours needed.  Development of the environment to support the change would also honour the new identity and values.

Conclusions and suggested next steps for you & for further support

There are many drivers for change in today’s business world, and change brings challenges to teams, who are delivering services today and need to evolve to deliver differently tomorrow.

Fortunately, there are many well-established methods of assessing and developing team effectiveness, and our series of 5 blogs has covered several of them.

Now that you’ve read this, and perhaps some of our other blogs, what might you do differently?  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Think about the changes that you are experiencing, either at work or at home.  Where are you on the change curve in relation to these?  What action(s) could you take to help you move through the change curve?
  2. If you are responsible for initiating or driving change, think about your personal or organisational context for change.  Is there a way of better articulating the associated purpose, identify, values and beliefs (i.e. as in the Dilts’ model)?
  3. If the change you are involved in has an impact on others, think about what they may be experiencing in the change curve and what might help them through it; use Lean and Six Sigma techniques (in this blog) to identify and engage all the stakeholders involved in an end-to-end perspective of the process
  4. If you are leading a team, or would like to support the team leader, consider the status of the team in terms of team development, and the prerequisites for team success, and engage the team members in building the (new) team
  5. Review the list of tools for organisational change and team effectiveness, and try at least one of them.

And finally, these blogs on organisational change and team effectiveness have achieved a record level of readership.  We’d like to offer further support and are considering webinars, e-books / workbooks, training courses additional to those that we already offer (see RiverRhee Consulting training and development).

Would you be interested in some further support?  What form would you like this support to take? Do let us know!

Notes

  1. Goodman, E and Loh, L. (2011) Organisational change: a critical challenge for team effectiveness.  Business Information Review, 28(4) 242-250
  2. Spear, Steven (2009) Chasing the Rabbit. How market leaders outdistance the competition and how great companies can catch up and win.  McGraw Hill
  3. O’Connor, Joseph (2001) NLP workbook.  London : Element

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lucy Loh is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Lucy Loh Consulting, a consultancy that helps businesses and organisations develop their business plans, and manage change in their organisations and teams to be able to deliver those plans.  She is also a RiverRhee Consulting Associate.  Lucy has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting.  Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a certified Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.  She is also an accredited trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management for Strategic Leadership.

Team development, pre-requisites for success and temperature checks: tools for effective change management


By Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh

This is the fourth in our series of blogs on “Enhancing Team Effectiveness in a time of change” based on our recent publication in Business Information Review(1), and other publications and seminars in progress.

In our first blog (Enhancing team effectiveness in a time of change – an introduction), we described the challenges being faced by organisations, teams and individuals and the impact that these changes have on them.

Our second blog (Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them) explored how people (either as individuals or teams) respond to change and how to help them through their journeys in a positive way.

Our third blog (Tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change) introduced five more specific tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change.

This fourth blog explores three of the tools: team development, pre-requisites for success and team temperature checks in more detail. Our next and final blog in this series will explore the other two tools: Lean and Six Sigma in Change Management and Dilts’ Logical Levels of Change.  We will also prompt you to reflect on the series of blogs on this topic, and initiate some activity to review and enhance the effectiveness of the teams you belong to.

Using a team development model to progress towards and sustain a ‘high performance’ team

We have used a version of the Tuckman(2) and Hersey-Blanchard(3)  team development models with teams that are just starting up, as well as with already established teams.  It helps leaders and team members to understand where the team is in its evolution, and what they could do to help it develop towards a stage of ‘high performance’.

The renewing (also sometimes referred to as ‘mourning’) and forming stages are the ones that will happen most frequently at a time of change for the team.  These are the ones that require the most ‘hands-on’ and directive attention from the leader.  For a team going through change and renewal, it is important for the team leader and members to celebrate the successes of the past (as previously mentioned), and to take note of what made them successful.

Team leaders and members may fear and try to avoid the storming stage but this is an important time for people to air their views openly and share their ideas constructively in order to make the team stronger.

In fact the team leader needs to play a different role at different stages: one-on-one interactions with team members are especially valuable in the storming stage and a focus outwards to stakeholders in the high performing stage.  Through awareness of these different stages, team members can also support the team leader and other team members, as well as ensure that they are fully developing their role within the team.

Structured learning techniques such as discussing other teams’ experiences in ‘Peer Assists’ at the start of a team’s life, conducting ‘After Action Reviews’ (timely debriefs on lessons learnt) at key milestones, and holding in-depth ‘Learning Retrospects’ at the end of a team’s life can be particularly useful to capture and share lessons learnt between existing and new team members and others outside of the team(4).

Identifying and agreeing on best practices as pre-requisites for success

We have coached team leaders in using variations of a list of prerequisites as a checklist for effectiveness.  Team members can help to identify, prioritise and explore best practices for check-lists such as the following:

  • Clear purpose & goals
  • Trust & support each other
  • Open communication
  • Clear roles
  • Diversity
  • Task / Relationship Balance
  • Decision Making
  • Meeting management
  • Information Management

Using team temperature checks to monitor and enhance team effectiveness

We use team temperature checks as a diagnostic with the previous prerequisites, at a time of change, to determine the status of the team, and to actively engage team members on the priorities to be addressed going forward.

The relative importance of each prerequisite will change during the life of the team, as will the team’s perception of how well they are performing.  Rather than dwell retrospectively on everything that is not working, the team should focus on the biggest gaps between importance and performance of a prerequisite, and explore the suggestions for improvement in order to move forward in a constructive way.

At the request of team leaders, we have polled members individually to obtain ratings of the perceived importance and performance against each prerequisite, and to encourage them to make suggestions for improvement to bring back to a team workshop.  Using an external objective facilitator can help with this, although in the long-term teams could manage this themselves e.g. by doing periodic ‘After Action Reviews’ in team meetings, or at key milestones.

In a time of change it may also be appropriate to involve customers, suppliers and other stakeholders in this process.  This will deliver two benefits: getting some external input, and also building relationships with people of importance to the team either during or after the change.

Notes

  1. Goodman, E and Loh, L. (2011) Organisational change: a critical challenge for team effectiveness.  Business Information Review, 28(4) 242-250
  2. Tuckman, B. and Jensen, M. (1977) Stages of small group development revisited, Group and Organizational Studies, 419-27
  3. Hersey, P and Blanchard, K Situational Leadership.  See for example : www.12manage.com
  4. Collison, Chris and Parnell, Geoff (2004) Learning to Fly: Practical Knowledge Management from Leading and Learning Organizations. Capstone; 2nd Edition

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lucy Loh is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Lucy Loh Consulting, a consultancy that helps businesses and organisations develop their business plans, and manage change in their organisations and teams to be able to deliver those plans.  She is also a RiverRhee Consulting Associate.  Lucy has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting.  Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a certified Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.  She is also an accredited trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management for Strategic Leadership.

Tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change


By Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh

This is the third in our series of blogs on “Enhancing Team Effectiveness in a time of change” based on our forthcoming publication in Business Information Review, and other publications and seminars in progress.

In our first blog (Enhancing team effectiveness in a time of change – an introduction), we described the challenges being faced by organisations, teams and individuals and the impact that these changes have on them.

Our second blog (Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them) explored how people (either as individuals or teams respond to change and how to help them through their journeys in a positive way.

This third blog in the series will introduce five more specific tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change.  As it will take some time to describe each of the tools, we will just summarise them here, and hope that you will come back to find out more about them in our future blogs. (Of course if you’d like to find out more sooner, do please let us know.)

It’s natural for teams to go through a ‘storming’ phase to get to ‘high performance’

Tuckman(1) and Hersey-Blanchard(2) amongst others have developed models for describing the stages that teams go through in their development. We have used a version of their team development models with teams that are just starting up, as well as with already established teams.  It helps leaders and team members to understand where the team is in its evolution, and what they could do to help it develop towards a stage of ‘high performance’. Teams are often relieved to realise that it is natural and in fact desirable to go through a ‘storming’ stage in order to get to high performance.

There are check-lists of activities that teams can use as pre-requisites for success

We have coached team leaders in using variations of a list of prerequisites as a checklist for effectiveness.  We have encouraged them to involve members of the team in its success, through workshops that explore best practices from other teams that they have been involved in.

Team temperature checks are a great way to monitor and enhance team effectiveness

We use team temperature checks as a diagnostic tool combined with the list of pre-requisites, at a time of change (including team start-up).  It helps teams to determine their status, and to actively engage all their members in a discussion on the priorities to be addressed going forward.

The relative importance of each prerequisite will change during the life of the team, as will the team members’ perception of how well they are performing and of what they can do to improve their performance.

Lean and Six Sigma tie in with change management

The Lean and Six Sigma process improvement philosophies and tools will trigger off change for teams and organisations, but can also be an extremely useful support for a team undergoing change.

Many organisations now use a combination of both Lean and Six Sigma tailored to their own culture and needs, and we have worked with some of them to develop strategies and implement change for continuous improvement.

Dilts’ “Logical Levels of Change” can also be a useful support for change

This last team tool is one that can be used both as a diagnostic, and as a planning tool in a time of change.  Robert Dilts is a leading figure in the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) who recognised that it is important for team leaders to address multiple levels to achieve change.  He developed the Logical Levels of Change model, as a helpful way of understanding the elements of effective team performance(3) and so we can and do use this too to help teams and the individuals within them through change.

Our next blogs in this series will explore each of these five tools for supporting teams during their journeys of change in more detail.

Notes

  1. Tuckman, B. and Jensen, M. (1977) Stages of small group development revisited, Group and Organizational Studies, 419-27
  2. Hersey, P and Blanchard, K Situational Leadership.  See for example : www.12manage.com
  3. O’Connor, Joseph (2001) NLP workbook.  London : Element

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lucy Loh is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Lucy Loh Consulting, a consultancy that helps businesses and organisations develop their business plans, and manage change in their organisations and teams to be able to deliver those plans.  She is also a RiverRhee Consulting Associate.  Lucy has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting.  Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a certified Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.  She is also an accredited trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management for Strategic Leadership.

Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them


By Lucy Loh and Elisabeth Goodman

This is the second in our series of blogs on “Enhancing Team Effectiveness in a time of change” based on our forthcoming publication in Business Information Review, and other publications and seminars in progress.

[Note – If you like this blog you may be interested in purchasing a copy of The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook – available from RiverRhee Publishing at £10.00 plus packaging and posting.]

In our previous blog (Enhancing team effectiveness in a time of change – an introduction), we described the challenges being faced by organisations, teams and individuals and the impact that these changes have on them.  Today’s blog focuses more on recognising reactions to change by individuals and in teams, and how to respond to them.

Understanding the change cycle: the Kübler-Ross change curve

This approach was developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and was based on her work with people confronting grief.  It illustrates the typical stages that people go through in response to change, and is at the core of most approaches to managing change.

Whether the people affected view a particular change as predominantly positive and to be welcomed, or as something negative, they will go through some version of this change cycle.

In this description, the stages are named for the prevalent emotion or activity experienced.

When a substantial change happens, many parts of the organisation are affected and go through this curve and at different rates.  Within any one team, the individual team members go through the change curve at different rates.

Using the change curve to support team effectiveness during change

It is important for leaders of affected teams to recognise that they too are travelling through the change curve.  They will need the emotional resilience to travel through the change curve quickly themselves.  This gives them the capacity to monitor the responses of the team members, supporting each one according to where they are in the cycle, and assisting them if they get ‘stuck’ at a particular point.

The flexible leader will recognise that some members will focus on the rational reasons for the change and view it as a ‘task’, whilst others are more likely to focus on the people impact and the disruption to relationships.  Both are likely to go through the curve in different ways, and so require a different management approach.

All change involves ‘letting go’ of something, and it is important to actively create space for this to happen.  In one reorganisation where a team was broken up, they held a celebration party, where they acknowledged all the learning and accomplishments they had achieved together; this was their way of letting go in a positive way, and developing energy and resources for each of them to take forwards.

In another team, where a team member was stuck in depression, the team leader spent time listening to that person and their sadness about what they were leaving behind, and then gradually coached them into seeing some possibilities in the future.  Other resilient team members can also support their colleagues in an informal way.

The people with whom the team interacts (its stakeholders, suppliers and customers) may also be going through change, and so the same principles apply.  At a time of change, a number of people will not be operating at their best, and yet much is expected of them.  It is a time for mutual respect and support!

Our next blog will explore the tools that can be used with teams to support them during their change journey.

Notes

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lucy Loh is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Lucy Loh Consulting, a consultancy that helps businesses and organisations develop their business plans, and manage change in their organisations and teams to be able to deliver those plans.  She is also a RiverRhee Consulting Associate.  Lucy has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting.  Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a certified Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.  She is also an accredited trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management for Strategic Leadership.

 

Enhancing Team Effectiveness in a Time of Change – an introduction


By Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh

Lucy Loh and Elisabeth Goodman have been preparing a few publications and seminars that deal with enhancing team effectiveness, strategies for personal and organisational change, and team development in the context of project management.  We thought it would therefore be timely to write a series of blogs picking up on some of our thinking in these areas.

All organisations, whether in the public, third or private sector, are continuing to experience organisational change on a large scale.  Whether this involves reshaping, redefinition of roles or just addressing internal efficiencies, all of these bring huge challenges.

At the same time, teams within these organisations must continue to deliver today as well as achieve changes to their own roles and services for delivery tomorrow.

Challenges facing today’s teams

As we write, in the second half of 2011, many global economies, including the UK’s, are undergoing unprecedented change.  These macroeconomic changes are triggering change at all levels in the public, private and third sectors.  The public sector faces the challenge of having to do ‘more with less’.  The private sector is seeking increased efficiencies and effectiveness, and is looking at innovation of products, services and the ways in which it does business.  The third sector has the opportunity, and challenge, to take on activities previously performed by the public sector.

Although today’s wave of change has been primarily created by economic conditions, change is now a constant, so this series of blogs is relevant whatever the trigger for change.

Impact on organisations

The economic conditions have created a scale and rate of change to challenge organisations, and the teams within them, as never before.  Within organisations, some teams are being downsized, with difficult choices to make about which people to retain and which to let go.  Often, a team is in the position of waiting and watching as the change ripples down the organisational layers towards them.  Some teams are being reorganised, revising their priorities, or making a case for their survival.  Teams are being asked to be more effective than ever, at a time when they are under more pressure than ever.

Impact on individuals and teams

It is important to recognise that all change involves people: what they do, and / or how they do it.  Many people in today’s organisations have spent their working lives in a period of relative stability.  Their expectations about the emotional ‘contract’ with the organisation (their future, their working style, and terms and conditions) may now be challenged, leading to a sense of uncertainty and instability.  Their job content (what a job comprises, how it is to be done, and how performance is assessed) may have been stable for years.

For many individuals, change is demanding, personally and emotionally, as things that were important in the past are put aside, and new ways of working take their place.  But change also offers an opportunity for renewal: to look again at what each team does, and to reposition the team to meet the voice of its customers.

To sustain team effectiveness during change, engagement of the team throughout the process is crucial.  As Peter Senge said, “People don’t resist change.  They resist being changed”. We believe that it is the uncertainty associated with change that can be so difficult and painful to cope with, and that everyone needs to feel that they have some sort of control over their situation.  Team leaders should value expressions of resistance as an opening up of dialogue on what people are thinking and feeling, paving the way for constructive discussion on how best to go forward.

External and internal drivers of change

Some organisational change is driven by factors outside the organisation, to which it then has to react.  In other cases, an organisation can proactively choose to change, interpreting the changes in customers, services and demand likely in the future and reshaping itself accordingly.  In each case, a particular team may discover that its customers have changed, or the needs and wants of their existing customers have changed.  This means that the value which the team delivers to its customers must also change, which in turn alters the nature of the team itself, its roles, and what ‘good quality’ looks and feels like.

In addition, the team members will have a wider set of established stakeholders with whom they have a good relationship, and whose needs and styles of working they understand well.  As the organisation changes, the stakeholders for the team may change, bringing the need to build relationships with a new set of people.

The UK local government election in May 2011 offers a vivid example of change in organisational values.  A number of councils changed from leadership by one political party to leadership by another, with a substantial turnover in the Councillors themselves.  The incoming Councillors held different political views and values (political and other), and had different manifesto commitments to the outgoing Councillors.  Almost overnight, the local government officers needed to stop working with previous Councillors, and begin adapting to a new programme of work described in the manifesto.  This is change at its most radical: a new direction, new values, new stakeholders, a new programme of work, and new ways of working.  This is the ultimate requirement: sustain delivery to the team’s customers in parallel with evolving the team and its effectiveness.

Concluding comments

Jay Galbraith, a world leader on organisation and team development, tells us : “Every organisation is perfectly designed to get the results it’s currently achieving”.  We believe that it is critical for teams to design themselves for effectiveness, to manage the status quo and to increase their resilience for change.

In this series of blogs, we provide insights into the challenges for the effectiveness of teams when their organisations are changing, and practical tips and suggestions on how to lead and maintain a thriving team.

Our intention is to provide ideas and techniques that both leaders and members can use to improve the effectiveness of their team, whatever its sector or current level of performance.  We describe core principles and general approaches to team development (often initiated from inside the team) and show how to use these to address change from outside the team.  We share ideas on how to ‘diagnose’ the current state of the team, whether it is performing well and is strongly aligned with its customers, or less so.

Our next blog in this series will address: “Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them”.

Notes

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale.  Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lucy Loh is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Lucy Loh Consulting, a consultancy that helps businesses and organisations develop their business plans, and manage change in their organisations and teams to be able to deliver those plans.  She is also a RiverRhee Consulting Associate.  Lucy has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting.  Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a certified Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.  She is also an accredited trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management for Strategic Leadership.

 

NLP steps to success for individuals, teams and organisations


By Lucy Loh1

NeuroLinguistic Programming – being and becoming excellent

You may already have heard about NeuroLinguistic Programming or NLP.  What is it all about, and what can it mean for you?  We introduce NLP here as it is an incredibly powerful vehicle for self development and change.  NLP looks at and models excellence and results – how outstanding people or outstanding organisations achieve their brilliance.  And once we understand how those excellent results are achieved, then those same methods can be taught to others – a process known as modelling.

NLP was originally created by John Grinder, a linguist, and Richard Bandler, a student of psychology, who modelled three extraordinarily effective therapists.  And using their understanding of how these three very successful individuals achieved their results, they built a very elegant model which can be used to enhance communication, assist personal change, accelerate learning, and (importantly!), increase enjoyment of life.

NLP comprises three elements

  • The Neuro part is about our nervous system : all the information we receive from the outside world comes in through one of our five neurological senses (sight, touch, hearing, taste, smell).  We ‘make sense’ of the information and then act on it.  The Neuro of NLP also covers our mind and how we think, as well as our physiological reactions to ideas and events.
  • The Linguistic part is about how we use language, to order our thoughts, to talk to ourselves and to communicate with others.
  • The Programming part is about the sequence of our actions, the patterns we use to create our behaviours to achieve our outcomes.

Five NLP steps to success for individuals, teams and organisations

i.         Know your outcome.  When you can define the outcome you want in a positive way, then it becomes more achievable.

ii.         Have sensory acuity.  Be alert.  Have all your five senses open and aware, so that you notice what you are getting and what is happening around you.  Where are you placing your attention? How can you enlarge the ‘repertoire’ of what you notice, about yourself and about others?  Acuity helps you notice if whether what you are doing is getting you what you want.   In the words of Eden Phillpotts, ‘The universe is full of magical things waiting for our wits to get sharper’.

iii.         Have behavioural flexibility.  Be willing to change what you think and how you behave.  With enough rapport and enough behavioural flexibility, you can achieve your outcomes.

iv.         Operate from a physiology and psychology of success.  See the skills and capabilities of others, recognise and acknowledge your own.

v.         Take action!  Without action, there are no results … 

These apply equally to an individual, a team or a wider organisation.  Acuity for an individual in a conversation might involve carefully observing and listening to the other person.  Operating from a position of success for a team could be about the positive attitude and commitment to each other and to the outcome from all the team members.  Flexibility for an organisation could be monitoring progress towards the organisation’s goals, and re-planning when required.

Each individual is individual ….

Have you ever had the experience when you have spoken to someone, and discovered afterwards that you have each gone away with a different ideas and conclusions about that conversation?  Have you heard another person describe a meeting you were at, and found that it didn’t resemble your recollections at all?  The answer lies in how we receive, structure and give meaning to our own experience.

Each individual has preferences about how they acquire information – neurological senses.

We each have developed preferences of which neurological sense we use, to acquire information about the world.  If our strong preference is visual, our language will reveal that we think in pictures – “it looks right”.  If our strong preference is kinaesthetic, things will “feel right”.  If our strong preference is auditory, things will “sound right”.

Each individual has different ‘filters’, and has preferences about what information they gather and how it is represented and sorted.

As we receive information, it hits a set of filters.  These have been created from the experiences we have had, the beliefs we hold, what we value, what our attitudes are, the way we perceive language, and many other things.   We each also have different ways of dealing with information and ideas.  Some people have a preference to start with the ‘why’ or purpose of something (the ‘Big Picture’) and others prefer to begin with the detail (the ‘Little Chunk’).  Some people look for how new information is the same as things they already know, and others look for how it is different.  Some people motivate themselves by describing what they want, and others motivate themselves by describing what they don’t want.   So we have different preferences for the type of information we like to take in, and then we process and interpret it differently depending on a myriad factors and invisible thought processes.

Being an effective communicator

NLP has a number of central principles – its guiding philosophy.  They are not claimed to be true or universal.  Instead, they form a set of ethical principles, because you presuppose them to be true, and then act as though they are.  One of the presuppositions is particularly important here :

People respond to their experience, not to reality itself

So as we communicate with others, it’s important that we recognise their individuality, and each person involved in the communication will be creating different meaning from it.

Here’s another presupposition :

The meaning of the communication is not simply what you intend, but also the response you get

This means that you take responsibility to explain what you mean, and to pay attention to the effect your communication has on others – as they perceive it – and react to what you observe.  And as they communicate with you, acknowledge their good intentions.

NLP in personal and team development

NLP has so much to offer as a way to enhance individual understanding, and individual and team effectiveness.  It includes role modelling excellence, the study of subjective experience, a set of principles, a collection of presuppositions to act as ethical principles, a way of using language to influence ourselves and others.

Using the sensory preferences described earlier, NLP can be used to show people what to do, tell them how to do it, and enablethem to perform brilliantly

Notes

1. Lucy Loh is an ex-Associate with RiverRhee Consulting. She has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting. Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.

2. RiverRhee Consulting enhances team effectiveness by helping established business teams to make the most of their time and expertise and so achieve greater productivity, quality and satisfaction in their work.  Our consultants are qualified in Lean and Six Sigma, Information Management, Project Management, Change Management, Myers Briggs (MBTI) and NeuroLinguistic Programming.